Walmart Costume in Poor Taste?

Every year there are a slew of costumes that arise surrounding the current year’s social topics or issues. Among a few this year are the popular Snap Chat and Caitlyn Jenner. But, when do these costumes go too far? Some consumers are angry with Walmart for selling an Israeli soldier costume for children and are threatening to boycott the company for its poor taste.

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According to an article in Fortune, the costume is causing quite a mess for Walmart because “it is offensive and insensitive to a serious and ongoing conflict.” The costume is still currently available on Walmart’s website.

I think it is safe to say that such costumes that are stereotypical of certain ethnicities tend to be controversial. So, why do companies, especially ones as big as Walmart, continue to sell these costumes? What possible benefit could result from selling a costume that could potentially cause trouble for the company? Do you think this was a smart move for Walmart?

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13 Responses to Walmart Costume in Poor Taste?

  1. Cassandra Weller says:

    I think that companies choose to carry controversially costumes because they truly believe they will sell because they are talked about. I think that many big companies just care about money and sales more than anything else, even offending people. I don’t think it’s a smart move for any company to ever offend someone with their products. But, who knows maybe the company didn’t think anything of it and just thought it was a funny costume. I hope not, but you never know.

  2. Elissa Harrison says:

    I personally think this is a little ridiculous. I understand that you need to be sensitive toward people always being ethically right, however, I do no believe that this costume is ethically wrong. If they offered a Nazi costume then I could see many people being offended due to the million of people who lost their lives. Yes, I understand their is tension going on right now regarding Israel but that doesn’t mean we band this costume from sale. I respect Walmart for not giving in to someone every time their is a complaint. It is important to put the customers first but I honestly do not think this is as a big deal as some people are making it out to be.

  3. Teresa Joseph says:

    Halloween seems to always bring out questionable costumes that are offensive and in poor taste. I think Walmart should definitely take this down and write a public apology for the offensive costume. I find it odd for a company to sell these types of costumes especially when this is such a prominent issue in the news recently, just like the issue with Caitlyn Jenner’s costume. I know the reason they sell them is because people think it’s funny and they buy it, but there is a line that companies often cross when it comes to Halloween, which really damage their image.

  4. Allyson Gerrard says:

    No, I don’t think this was a smart move for Walmart. It makes me wonder what type of parents actually buy costumes like these for their kids. I might be over generalizing but I think most children want to dress up as a princess or superhero for Halloween… I think there will always be controversy with the costumes that portray a certain ethnicity in a stereotypical way. Walmart did not go out their way to stop this and they’re only feeding to the problem. It looks bad for a big company like Walmart, but this isn’t out of the ordinary. It never fails. There is always at least one company each year that pushes the boundaries selling Halloween costumes of poor taste.

  5. Matthew Covert says:

    I have seen these costumes every year and it is always a problem for larger retailers. Yet I don’t think this costume is particularly offensive. I think it wouldn’t be much different than Israelis dressing up as American soldiers. My neighbors in my hometown are Israeli immigrants who have a son currently serving in the IDF and I think they would find this costume choice strange but not offensive.
    Walmart should be more careful though in the screening of its halloween costumes. If it can be seen as offensive by any group, then it should be taken down. No large retailer ever won by being controversial.

  6. Hannah Johnston says:

    I think big companies look for trending topics and base their costume ideas around this. However, this was not a good choice for Walmart. This may be a popular topic right now but Israeli soldiers are not something to make a costume out of. This is a sensitive subject and I do believe that parents have a right to be upset. I don’t think there are any benefits to having this costume on their shelves.

  7. Jordan Baxter says:

    I personally believe no money or profit can ever be more important than ones reputation. I think this was not a smart move on Walmart at all. I think they could have positioned themselves a lot better in this case scenario and that the pros and cons in the situation do not help them in the slightest. Providing a uniform like this makes it extremely difficult to slide by the issue while gaining a profit. I don’t think this was smart for Walmart and I would quickly take the costume off the market.

  8. Brittani Gomez says:

    I agree that these costumes are offensive, but obviously there is a consumer market for them or they wouldn’t sell them/make them. From my point of view, there will always be a costume that offends one group of people and not the next, that just comes withe territory of Halloween. I think that since Walmart is such a large company they believe there will not be substantial backlash because so many people shop at their stores all around the country. In a way they have the privilege to do as they please because they are such a large company but that does not give them the right to offend their customers. They would not be in the place they are if it wasn’t for the people who shop there so they do need to take these things into consideration.

  9. Erin Mondt says:

    I am very surprised that Walmart would sell this costume for young kids. I think the fact that this costume is an “Israeli soldier” and not an American soldier is what makes this costume so offensive to Walmart customers. I don’t think this was a good move for Walmart, because it is putting a bad message out to their customers. Did they really think this costume would be a total hit? They had to expect the negative backlash and controversy. Walmart should be able to stand behind every single product they sell, and have a legitimate reason or selling it. The only reason I could see why they would sell this costume is because they wanted people talking about Walmart in general. They knew this costume would certainly gain attention, but they should want positive publicity not extremely negative.

  10. Juliet Moo says:

    There’s a high possibility that Walmart thinks it’s a good idea to sell such controversial costumes because it is something the common public is familiar with. Clearly, Walmart thinks that some people might find it funny to dress up as an Israeli soldier, since it is always on the news. Although I understand why Walmart think it is a good idea to sell such costumes, I do not think it is a smart move. From my understanding, Walmart is trying to stay relevant with current issues; however, the company failed to see the ‘fine line’ between funny and distasteful.

  11. Connor Johnson says:

    This is a costume that is definitely in poor taste, but that goes without saying. Regardless of what people may think, WalMart is a very savvy company. Granted, that savviness is generally limited to one aspect of business: making money. I would be very surprised if WalMart made the conscious decision to sell these controversial costumes without being confident that they would sell well. You can say what you want about their decision-making process, but WalMart typically makes decisions with only earning potential in mind.

  12. Kimberly Linn says:

    I think Walmart is taking an extremely dangerous, insensitive and unnecessary risks with an Israeli soldier costume for children. It would be an entirely different story and message if these costumes only came in adult sizes, but children costumes is completely inappropriate. Think about picking a Halloween costume from the perspective of about a six-year-old. I cannot image an child specifically wanting an Israeli soldier costume. This leads me to believe the parents who purchase this costume for their child falls into one of two categories:

    1) A parent who does not read tags, therefore, does not realize the entirety of what this costume represents

    2) A parent who is using their child’s opportunity to have fun and dress-up as a way to express their own political opinions.

    Honestly, neither one of these categories strike me a good parenting practices.

  13. Megan Brown says:

    First, I find it interesting that Walmart shoppers are now considering boycotting the company when virtually all of their business practices are done in ‘poor taste.’ But, that’s beside the point. To answer your question, I don’t know why companies as large as Walmart continue to release product and material that will undoubtedly be seen as offensive or distasteful by a mass market. Obviously, I don’t condone Walmart’s practices or decision to sell a children’s Israeli soldier costume, and in fact, I find the move incredibly stupid for a company that is not unfamiliar with stepping on people’s toes. I’m assuming someone convinced someone else that it was a brilliantly comical and ironic costume to market, and I also assume that person is no longer employed by the mass superstore.

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